CLARKSDALE, Miss.–What do you want to be when you grow up? What if you’re already grown up and you want to make sure you can put food on the table? Mississippi may be better able to help you do that after teaming with the Delta Regional Authority in an effort to “re-imagine workforce training”.
What that means, essentially, is that the DRA is putting $1.7 million toward making sure Mississippians are trained, certified, and ready to work as skilled labor, and that manufacturers who want to locate in the state know it.
The beginning of the new workforce training initiative will be at the epicenter of the Mississippi Delta, at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale.
Gov. Phil Bryant and the Delta Regional Authority outlined their plans Thursday at a news conference at the state capitol.
”Just like the flow of the Mississippi River, the Delta economy is constantly changing and we need to change with it,” said Christopher Masingill, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman. “Working with our state partners, we are committed to overhauling the way we train our workers and the way we identify the jobs of the future and connect our people to the skills they need. This initiative is aimed at strengthening our workforce, encouraging lifelong learning, and increasing the standard of living in the region.”
Bryant, stressing how important having a trained workforce can be in luring jobs to the area, cited Yokohama Tire and West Point as an example.
“Yokohama Tire could have gone to 3,000 different locations,” he said. “They came there because of the effort that Mississippi has put into re-training the work force. We’ve had a remarkable record with Toyota, Nissan. Mississippi workers are the workers of America. Our work force, our work ethic is what helped build this country and this state and we’re gonna do more of it in the future.”
Bryant said this initiative will deal mainly with manufacturing.
“Mississippi is in the growth path of the southern automobile corridor,” said Bryant.
He also said aerospace, aviation and medical manufacturing jobs could be lured to the state, if workers are trained and certified.
The new investment into the regions workforce comes as a response to the recent report, The Future of the South: Re-Imagining Workforce Development, which outlines the challenges facing the Deltas economic future and recommends that economic leaders reimagine their approach to training workers across the region.
The Delta Regional Authority also announced that it will host a series of summits on Reimagining the Delta Workforce in each of the eight states in the region. The summits will be held in conjunction with the Governors of the eight states and will bring together business and industry, thought leaders and influential stakeholders to discuss and address the current state of workforce development in the Delta and each of the regions eight states.